2 in 5 elderly live on less than $18,000 a year, including Social Security benefits.
The average credit card balance for households earning less than $35,000 is $4,000.
1 in 3 people who have left welfare since 1996 did so because they couldn't meet the program requirements or they hit the 5-year limit.
Since 2000, the number of Americans living below the poverty line at any one time has steadily risen. Now, 13% of all Americans (37 million) are officially poor.
Among households worth less than $13,500, their average net worth in 2001 was $0. By 2004, it was down to -$1,400.
Bush's tax cuts (extended until 2010) save those earning between $20,000 and $30,000 an average of $10 a year, while those earning $1 million are saved $42,700.
In 2002, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) compared those who point out statistics such as the ones above to Adolph Hitler.
NOW, HERE'S THE PERSPECTIVE:
Richard Helfant, the executive director of Lucy, the elephant icon in Margate, NJ is paid a salary of $69,000 plus benefits. The salary is paid by a New Jersey state grant and the Save Lucy Committee, a not-for-profit organization. Helfant believes the flak he has gotten over his exorbitant salary is because he is gay. For all of that, Lucy is operating in the red, including Helfant's squandering money on shopping trips, limo rides and courting Barry Manilow for the cause.
Forget the excessive salaries paid to athletes, actors and CEOs (well, forget some of them) and focus on what we pay people who do mundane jobs, and do them poorly at that. Remember, as you creep toward your 60th birthday, that 40% of our elderly are living on less than $18,000, and it is only getting worse.
Thanks to the July/August 2006 issue of Mother Jones magazine for the statistics, and to Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer for aggravating me with the front-page Lucy story.